Like all great folk music, alt-folk duo Little Blue Thula’s latest EP was born from the quiet; from moments of reflection. People Ruin Music is a meditative collection of songs rendered from the honest, simple arrangement of Niall Tennison’s vocals and Toby Needler’s guitar. The result they create is visceral and refreshingly intimate in a way that sets artists of their milieu apart from the rest.
Little Blue Thula’s instrumentation is unvarnished. In the opening track sharing the name of the EP, every creak of the guitar strings can be heard, adding a poignancy to Tennison’s weary, disheartened lyrics. “So I go back home and I call up my God / Say all the shit that you sold, well it ain’t what I bought” he sighs, in ‘My Quiet Concern #2’.
In ‘Luna’, a weightless, twinkling guitar section is a lamentation of love lost; it cuts far more sharply than you’d expect as, in moments, it makes a listener’s mind nomadic, as we can’t help but wander back to places with Little Blue Thula we thought we’d left long ago.
The production of the EP is restless: in some tracks, they recede as though out of reach, and in others, like ‘Dream River’, it has a purity of sound as if they are right beside us. The EP’s closer ‘Hard to Find’ sees Tennison’s vocals falter, reaching a breaking point of hysteric despair. Its lyrics are a crescendo of every raw emotion in People Ruin Music thus far: “You get cancer from the sun / Or anything fun at all, it seems / That surrounds you”. Its wild-eyed and sardonic, and sees Little Blue Thula at the zenith of their own creativity and capability.
People Ruin Music is their most sophisticated, emotionally variegated work to date. They are unafraid to explore beyond their limits, to push a little further and to think and feel a little harder.
Featured Image: Courtney Thornton